Running has changed my life. There’s no doubt about that. It continues to teach me, and I continue to learn and grow from it. Even still, everyone has moments of weakness; sometimes even months of weakness.
The first half of 2015 was not good for me. I struggled with some unfortunate “that’s life” issues that had me feeling unmotivated, and I often found myself seeking comfort in food. I spent more and more time on the couch watching sappy chick-flick movies with a box of cookies, and less time outside with my running shoes.
By March, my training was almost non-existent and I had gained back about 20 pounds of the weight I had previously lost. I did manage to run 2 marathons and 2 ultras during the spring and early summer but, as undertrained as I was, each one was nothing but a pathetic suffer-fest. During the Asphalt Jackal Marathon, in mid June, my eyes opened to what I had become and what I was doing to myself. I knew something had to change. I finished the race that day in dead last place. Without the major support of friends, throughout the race, I doubt I would have finished at all.
I have worked hard over the last few months to return to the runner that I was last year, and I’m making good progress. I’m averaging about 32 miles per week in training right now, and I have worked my long training runs back up to a half marathon. I’m signed up for the Chattanooga 7 Bridges Marathon in 6 weeks, and it feels good to know that I’ll be ready for it. I ran it last year and beat my previous best marathon time by 15 minutes. Maybe I can pull out another personal record this year.
Even though my “backslide” cost me several months of valuable training and improvement, I don’t really regret it. It taught me things about myself, and it made me stronger. It is empowering to know that after hitting such a low that I can rise above and continue to better myself despite life’s obstacles. Things happen that can affect us mentally and change the way we see the world. I can’t tell you that it won’t happen again, but if it does I’ll be ready.
– Shannon Miller (RIF #338)
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